In July 2018, BMW and Great Wall Motor signed an agreement for the production of Mini electric vehicles in China. There are now details, including the plans to build a factory in the Chinese province of Jiangsu where the first electric Minis will roll off the assembly line from 2021.
This news goes back to a report in the business paper “Nikkei”, which refers to Great Wall manager Wang Fengying. According to the report, the joint venture, Spotlight Automotive, will have a production capacity of around 160,000 vehicles per year and an investment volume of 5.1 billion yuan (around 670 million euros) with a view to the new plant. BMW and Great Wall will provide the joint venture itself with capital of 1.7 billion yuan (around 220 million euros) at the start.
Both groups will benefit from the cooperation in different ways: While BMW has regulatory advantages in the Middle Kingdom thanks to its local partner and is thus in a better position to meet the electric car quota required there, Great Wall expects the cooperation to provide better access to the world market. “Nikkei” also reports that the duo intends to develop a joint vehicle platform and establish a new electric car brand in the future.
The joint venture plans of both companies have been casting their shadows for some time now. BMW and Great Wall had already signed a letter of intent to this effect in February 2018, and the deal has been closed since July 2018, although official approval was still pending. Meanwhile, series production of the electric Mini will start this year in Oxford, England.